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The Travel Agency is Open!

Since we finished our News Project with the production and sharing of a class news broadcast, we have shifted our focus to a new theme for play and explore centers. 
This month's theme is "Travel."  It is the perfect fit for our current Social Studies units on Christopher Columbus, Maps & Globes, Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. 
These centers give students the chance to make modern day connections to our history lessons.
At the dramatic play center students are encouraged to help each other plan trips and vacations.  Using a form I created, some computer keyboards, and plenty of brochures and maps, students work together to plan trips. 
This center even spawned an impromptu transportation center when one student set up the "airline," checked tickets, and served refreshments!
At the writing center I provided blank brochures that students can use to create their own informative writing and drawing piece.  On the computers students explored a program called Map Maker 2.0 that I found on the Mr. Nussbaum website. With this website students can use various paint tools to explore and color different maps.
At the bock center students are encouraged to create a dwelling or mode of transportation.  I have been struggling with this center since many of my boys seem to "get stuck" only creating spaceships, rockets or other flying vehicles that warrant they should run around the room pretending to blast each other.  While I believe this play is completely okay at home, it's not the most appropriate for school.  So, I devised a planning page for the block center.  The result was a focused, planned time with blocks during which a few of my boys drew elaborate plans, carried them out, and then worked to sound out words to write about their creation.  WOW!  They didn't even realize they were engaged in engineering, problem solving, planning, AND literacy!  Score one for this teacher! 


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